ARC/Book Review: When Dimple Met Rishi – Sandhya Menon

Title: When Dimple Met Rishi (2017)
Author: Sandhya Menon
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Extent: 384 pages
Release Date: July 13, 2017
Rating: ★★★☆☆

Goodreads Description

Meet Dimple. Her main aim in life is to escape her traditional parents, get to university and begin her plan for tech world domination.

Meet Rishi. He’s rich, good-looking and a hopeless romantic. His parents think Dimple is the perfect match for him, but she’s got other plans…

Dimple and Rishi may think they have each other figured out. But when opposites clash, love works hard to prove itself in the most unexpected ways.

Review

If you’ve been following me for a while, you probably know how tremendously in love I am with the arranged marriage trope. That moment when our two lead characters realise that crap, they actually have ~*feelings*~ for each other? I live for it, so imagine my excitement when I found out about When Dimple Met Rishi — it’s a diverse book with arranged marriage at the centre! What more can I want? As it turns out: quite a bit. 😶

When Dimple Met Rishi is marketed as a book centred on the Indian arranged marriage, but I found this to be misleading. Instead, much of the story revolves around a university coding program that Dimple has enrolled in, a program that Rishi joined knowing that his potential-future-wife will be there. It’s here that these two get to know each other as friends, not possible partners.

Though she’d take to wearing kaajal every day before she’d admit it, Dimple sometimes felt a pang at the thought of never having that. Because, she was sure, the kind of bond Mamma and Papa had would require a self-sacrifice she would never be okay making.

Dimple and Rishi are almost complete opposites, which means that naturally, their ways of interacting with their own family and culture can be remarkably different. If Dimple is more individualistic in her approach and prefers to discard aspects of her tradition, Rishi takes the reverse road: he indulges his parents and wants to fulfil their every expectation, from the career path that he chooses to the woman that he will marry. It’s an interesting contrast, one that provides an insight into Indian culture and second-gen immigrants.

Unfortunately, I was not quite charmed by these characters (or subsequently this book) the way I wanted. Try as I might, I didn’t really fall in love with Dimple and Rishi individually or root for them as a couple. They were cute, but they didn’t really endear themselves to me. The supporting characters also had noticeably little depth and felt cliched, which was a bit of a letdown because there was really no one in the book I particularly looked forward to seeing. 🙈

“When you think about it, our families are back in India, about eight thousand miles away. And they’re still so intricately connected to us. We have their names, their rituals, their traditions. Their dreams sit behind our eyelids. I think it’s beautiful.”

Menon’s writing is simple, focused mostly on dialogue with sprinkles of metaphorical prose that felt, unfortunately, somewhat out of place given how straightforward the rest of the narrative is. It makes for an easy, fast-paced book to read, but I have to admit that the style didn’t do much to me in evoking emotions or tickling the imagination. The ‘big conflict’ also felt contrived and was solved a little too easily, so everything felt… passionless to me.

In the end, though, When Dimple Met Rishi is a cute little romance wrapped in culture and diversity. While it lacked the depth that I usually seek for in my contemporaries and didn’t personally provoke the mind or the heart, it has moments of brilliance and was overall a pleasant read. I’m glad that I gave it a chance and would happily check out Menon’s future works. 🙆

REAL RATING: 3.5 stars.

* I received an ARC of WHEN DIMPLE MET RISHI from the publisher via NetGalley.

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20 thoughts on “ARC/Book Review: When Dimple Met Rishi – Sandhya Menon

  1. Great to see your thoughts! I have an arc of this also that I need to get around to soon. Sorry you didn’t love it as much and you wanted to, the idea of this book is so interesting, I can’t wait to get around to it!

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  2. Ohh lovely review, Reg – I’m actually glad you didn’t praise this book as much as everyone else did, all of the hype and cuteness overload started to make me soooo worried and make this book a little TOO hyped up ahah. I still can’t wait to read this one, but I’ll go in with less expectations for sure. I hope to still love it 🙂

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    • Thanks, Marie! Haha, I know – I actually feel a bit bad about it because I feel like I’m being a downer. 🙈 Like it’s a good book, it just wasn’t as good as I expected. I hope you like it if/when you get to it, though. 🌷

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      • OH no, you’re not, don’t worry about it! I’m always afraid when I don’t like a hyped book as much as everyone else, to be a downer, but we can’t fall in love with every book anyway 🙂

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  3. Oh I’m sorry this book didn’t really live up to your expectations Reg, especially when it includes a trope you normally love reading as well. I have this on my to-read list and actually am planning to start it tomorrow. I’m not sure what to think of it yet because I’ve seen so many amazing things and this is the first mixed review I’ve seen. Sounds like while the story was good and the diversity on point the characters weren’t as much, which is a shame because in contemporary books I do feel the characters are the most important part of the story.
    Still great review Reg! 😀

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    • I know! I suppose it’s just that it’s less “arranged marriage” than it is “study camp” (ish), so it didn’t really work out for me on the trope front. And you’re so right – I feel like I’ve seen such glowing reviews for it that I kind of feel bad for throwing mine into the mix, haha. I hope that you like it and I can’t wait to hear your thoughts. 💖

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      • Yeah I just finished it now and I get what you mean. I thought there’d be more of the arranged marriage trope but it was only really present for a few pages in the beginning before it was passed over. My review for it won’t be completely glowing either either. I enjoyed the book but there were just a few things I wasn’t a fan of that’s stopping me from giving this one five stars.
        It’s nice to see a mix sometimes, I doubt there’s even one book out there that has 100% glowing reviews either! 🙂

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  4. This book has been floating around the blogosphere for a while and I’ve seen mixed to positive thoughts about it so far. The concept of the book sounds amazing and it definitely made it to my tbr pile but I did wonder about how this book would address the arranged marriage so I’m sad to see that the focus is centered on the university program. I will definitely consider reading this but lower my expectations.

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    • I’ve seen mostly positive reviews so I felt a bit guilty adding mine into the mix, haha. Everyone just seems to really love it, and I can honestly understand why. I hope that if/when you give it a chance, you’d end up enjoying it more than I did. 😉

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  5. Too bad this book didn’t quite live up to your expectations. I think the same thing is going to happen to me; the hype for this book is building up but I’m already thinking I’m not going to like it as much as I’d hoped for. It’s definitely disappointing the arranged marriage part isn’t the real focus of the book because that’s a big part of what attracted me in the first place.

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    • Yeah, I’m kind of sad about it! It’s just super hyped for the arranged marriage plot but that part is sorely lacking (this I’m saying as a HUGE arranged marriage trope lover, haha). Someone who doesn’t really care about that trope probably doesn’t care about that, though. 😂

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  6. Sorry to hear you didn’t love the characters! I personally LOVED THEM BOTH SO MUCH and they were so unique and special to me as is this book! It was everything I wanted out of this and I love recommending it to people! Thanks for the honest review though Reg!

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    • I’m so glad to hear that! I can totally understand why some people would love this book (and the characters) – they’re just not really my thing, I suppose. But hey, every book has an audience. 😂

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  7. Sorry this one ended up being a little bit of a let down for you, Reg! It’s actually nice to see a mixed review for it as all I’ve seen so far it praise. I felt like my own expectations were getting way too high because of it 🙈. It sucks that it was a character problem though since contemporaries are so heavily about the characters. I still plan on reading this one whenever I’m in the mood for contemporaries again but I’ll definitely be keeping your thoughts in mind. Great review as always!! 💕

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    • Melissa! Have you read this one yet now? My expectations for this one were DEFINITELY raised so high due to the hype, haha – perhaps that became its downfall too. And yeah, contemporaries rely on characters a lot so once you don’t enjoy them, chances are you just don’t really enjoy the book. I can’t wait to hear your thoughts on this. ❤

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  8. Another great review Reg! I’ve said this before, but I find that I’ve come to trust your book reviews (especially YA) to always be spot on with how I feel, so after reading your reviews I’m pretty confident I would have the same feelings. I wasn’t planning on reading this one anyways as YA contemporary isn’t a genre I tend to have much luck in…

    It’s always so refreshing to see a more “realistic” review after reading so many rave reviews. Sometimes I think the hype gets a little out of control….

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